SPOKANE, Wash. - A Vitalant employee working at the Spokane Valley facility tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently in self-quarantine.
According to Vitalant, the employee started showing symptoms similar to those associated with a novel coronavirus infection and went to get tested on March 31. The results came back positive on April 2.
The employee worked with donors and other Vitalant employees, drawing blood from those who visited the location. Once the results came back, the facility was thoroughly disinfected.
Chris Gresens, the senior chief medical officer for the north and west divisions of Vitalant, told KHQ that they believe very few blood donors could have been exposed to the novel coronavirus at the facility.
"Fortunately, most of the donor interactions were self-limited and did not involve close contact with somebody who could have this infection," Gresens said. "There were some donors who were probably in longer proximity to this coworker."
Vitalant is now working with the Spokane Regional Health District, providing information to help public health officials trace and contact anyone who may have been exposed to the employee who tested positive.
According to the Spokane Regional Health District, there is a minimal chance of blood donors becoming infected with the novel coronavirus in an environment like Vitalant's facility; the risk is low, but only if the facility is following social distancing, disinfecting surfaces and requiring workers to wear personal protective equipment.
Employees who worked with the staff member who tested positive aren't showing symptoms at the time of the article, however, they are being given the option to self-isolate to make sure they aren't asymptomatic.
According to Vitalant, several employees have chosen to follow CDC guidelines that allow them to continue to work, as long as they're wearing face masks, ensure social distancing practices and check their temperatures twice a day.
Vitalant is still taking blood donations appointments with proper protective measures, and they are in desperate need of blood during the Coronavirus Pandemic. If you would like to make an appointment, you can click here.